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Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

Background:
A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US treaty ally following the conflict. A military coup in September 2006 ousted then Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat. The interim government held elections in December 2007 that saw the pro-THAKSIN People's Power Party (PPP) emerge at the head of a coalition government. The anti-THAKSIN People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in May 2008 began street demonstrations against the new government, eventually occupying the prime minister's office in August. Clashes in October 2008 between PAD protesters blocking parliament and police resulted in the death of at least two people. The PAD occupied Bangkok's international airports briefly, ending their protests in early December 2008 following a court ruling that dissolved the ruling PPP and two other coalition parties for election violations. The Democrat Party then formed a new coalition government with the support of some of THAKSIN's former political allies, and ABHISIT Wetchachiwa became prime minister. Since January 2004, thousands have been killed as separatists in Thailand's southern ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces increased the violence associated with their cause.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 82.75 cu km/yr (2%/2%/95%)
per capita: 1,288 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
409.9 cu km (1999)

Land boundaries:
total: 4,863 km
border countries: Burma 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Climate:
tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid

Map references:
Southeast Asia

Geographic coordinates:
15 00 N, 100 00 E

Natural resources:
tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point: Doi Inthanon 2,576 m

Terrain:
central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere

Geography - note:
controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore

Area:
total: 514,000 sq km
land: 511,770 sq km
water: 2,230 sq km

Location:
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma

Coastline:
3,219 km

Area - comparative:
slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming

Irrigated land:
49,860 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Natural hazards:
land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts

Land use:
arable land: 27.54%
permanent crops: 6.93%
other: 65.53% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.64 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.5% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
570,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.83 years
male: 70.51 years
female: 75.27 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
animal contact disease: rabies
water contact disease: leptospirosis
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.6%
male: 94.9%
female: 90.5% (2000 census)

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%

Median age:
total: 32.8 years
male: 32 years
female: 33.7 years (2008 est.)

Population:
65,493,296
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
4.2% of GDP (2005)

Population growth rate:
0.64% (2008 est.)

Languages:
Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects

Death rate:
7.17 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 18.23 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.89 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
58,000 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 21.2% (male 7,104,776/female 6,781,453)
15-64 years: 70.3% (male 22,763,274/female 23,304,793)
65 years and over: 8.5% (male 2,516,721/female 3,022,281) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
13.57 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Religions:
Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, other 0.1% (2000 census)

Nationality:
noun: Thai (singular and plural)
adjective: Thai

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Eric G. JOHN
embassy: 120-122 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330
mailing address: APO AP 96546
telephone: [66] (2) 205-4000
FAX: [66] (2) 254-2990, 205-4131
consulate(s) general: Chiang Mai

National holiday:
Birthday of King PHUMIPHON (BHUMIBOL), 5 December (1927)

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Government type:
constitutional monarchy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
People's Alliance for Democracy or PAD; United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires DAMRONG Kraikruan
chancery: 1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 401, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 944-3600
FAX: [1] (202) 944-3611
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York

International organization participation:
ADB, APEC, APT, ARF, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, BIS, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, PIF (partner), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Legislative branch:
bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consisted of the Senate or Wuthisapha (150 seats; 76 members elected by popular vote representing 76 provinces, 74 appointed by judges and independent government bodies; all serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (480 seats; 400 members elected from 157 multi-seat constituencies and 80 elected on proportional party-list basis of 10 per eight zones or groupings of provinces; all serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 2 March 2008 (next to be held in March 2014); House of Representatives - last election held on 23 December 2007 (next to be held in December 2011)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPP 233, DP 164, TNP 34, Motherland 24, Middle Way 11, Unity 9, Royalist People's 5
note: 74 senators were appointed on 19 February 2008 by a seven-member committee headed by the chief of the Constitutional Court; 76 senators were elected on 2 March 2008; elections to the Senate are non-partisan; registered political party members are disqualified from being senators

Legal system:
based on civil law system, with influences of common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red

Independence:
1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand
conventional short form: Thailand
local long form: Ratcha Anachak Thai
local short form: Prathet Thai
former: Siam

Political parties and leaders:
Chat Thai Phattana Party or CP (Thai Nation Development Party) [CHUMPOL Silpa-archa]; Democrat Party or DP (Prachathipat Party) [ABHISIT Wetchachiwa, also spelled ABHISIT Vejjajiva]; Motherland Party (Pheua Phaendin Party) [PRACHA Phromnok]; Phuea Thai Party (For Thais Party) or PTP [YONGYUT Wichaidit]; Phumchai (Bhumjai) Thai Party or BJT (Thai Pride) [PHIPHAT Phromwaraphon]; Royalist People's Party (Pracharaj) [SANOH Thienthong]; Ruam Jai Thai Party (Thai Unity Party) [WANNARAT Channukul]

Capital:
name: Bangkok
geographic coordinates: 13 45 N, 100 31 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Constitution:
constitution signed by King PHUMIPHON (BHUMIBOL) on 24 August 2007

Executive branch:
chief of state: King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet or (BHUMIBOL Adulyadej) (since 9 June 1946)
head of government: Prime Minister ABHISIT Wetchachiwa, also spelled ABHISIT Vejjajiva (since 17 December 2008); Deputy Prime Minister KORBSAK Saphawasu, also spelled KORBSAK Sabhavasu (since 22 December 2008); Deputy Prime Minister SANAN Kachornprasat, also spelled SANAN Kachornparsart (since 7 February 2008); Deputy Prime Minister SUTHEP Thueaksuban, also spelled SUTHEP Thaugsuban (since 22 December 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
note: there is also a Privy Council advising the king
elections: monarch is hereditary; according to 2007 constitution, prime minister is elected from among members of House of Representatives; following national elections for House of Representatives, leader of party that could organize a majority coalition usually was appointed prime minister by king; prime minister is limited to two 4-year terms

Administrative divisions:
76 provinces (changwat, singular and plural); Amnat Charoen, Ang Thong, Buriram, Chachoengsao, Chai Nat, Chaiyaphum, Chanthaburi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chon Buri, Chumphon, Kalasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Krung Thep Mahanakhon (Bangkok), Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Lop Buri, Mae Hong Son, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nan, Narathiwat, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Pattani, Phangnga, Phatthalung, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phetchaburi, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Phrae, Phuket, Prachin Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ranong, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Roi Et, Sa Kaeo, Sakon Nakhon, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Sara Buri, Satun, Sing Buri, Sisaket, Songkhla, Sukhothai, Suphan Buri, Surat Thani, Surin, Tak, Trang, Trat, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit, Yala, Yasothon

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Sandika (judges appointed by the monarch)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 12.6%, Japan 11.9%, China 9.7%, Singapore 6.3%, Hong Kong 5.7%, Malaysia 5.1% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
123.9 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
3.75% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
4.488 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$1.064 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$67.01 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
1.4% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
207,400 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$8,700 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
29.4% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$241.8 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$570.1 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$272.1 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
42 (2002)

Exchange rates:
baht per US dollar - 33.37 (2008 est.), 34.52 (2007), 37.882 (2006), 40.22 (2005), 40.222 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
4.8% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$28.62 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
37.25 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
Japan 20.3%, China 11.6%, US 6.8%, Malaysia 6.2%, UAE 4.9%, Singapore 4.5%, Taiwan 4.1% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.8% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 11.4%
industry: 44.5%
services: 44.1% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
832,900 bbl/day (2005)

Exports:
$174.9 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
35.3 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
baht (THB)

Economy - overview:
With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, and generally pro-investment policies, Thailand was one of East Asia's best performers from 2002-04, averaging more than 6% annual real GDP growth. However, overall economic growth has fallen sharply - averaging 4.9% from 2005 to 2007 - as persistent political crisis stalled infrastructure mega-projects, eroded investor and consumer confidence, and damaged the country's international image. Exports were the key economic driver as foreign investment and consumer demand stalled. Export growth from January 2005 to November 2008 averaged 17.5% annually. Business uncertainty escalated, however, following the September 2006 coup when the military-installed government imposed capital controls and considered far-reaching changes to foreign investment rules and other business legislation. Although controversial capital controls have since been lifted and business rules largely remain unchanged, investor sentiment has not recovered. Moreover, the 2008 global financial crisis further darkened Thailand's economic horizon. Continued political uncertainty will hamper resumption of infrastructure mega-projects.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels

Industries:
tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewelry and electric appliances, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, automobiles and automotive parts; world's second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer

Electricity - exports:
731 million kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
10% (2004 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
7.05% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$216.6 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
130.7 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Imports:
$159.1 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
460 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 42.6%
industry: 20.2%
services: 37.1% (2005 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
331.2 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$100.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
928,600 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$7.013 billion (2007 est.)

Public debt:
38.4% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$80.83 billion (2007 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$196 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:
THB

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 33.4% (2002)

Exports - commodities:
textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber, jewelry, automobiles, computers and electrical appliances

Economic aid - recipient:
$171.1 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 91.3%
hydro: 6.4%
nuclear: 0%
other: 2.4% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
9.8 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
25.4 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $49.37 billion
expenditures: $54.29 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
1 October - 30 September

Oil - production:
348,600 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
13.416 million (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
7.024 million (2007)

Televisions:
15.19 million (1997)

Internet country code:
.th

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 238, FM 351, shortwave 6 (2007)

Radios:
13.96 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
51.377 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
111 (2006)

Telephone system:
general assessment: high quality system, especially in urban areas like Bangkok
domestic: fixed line system provided by both a government owned and commercial provider; wireless service expanding rapidly and outpacing fixed lines
international: country code - 66; connected to major submarine cable systems providing links throughout Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe, and US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Pacific Ocean)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
15 (2000)

Internet hosts:
1.116 million (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Waterways:
4,000 km
note: 3,701 km navigable by boats with drafts up to 0.9 m (2008)

Pipelines:
gas 4,381 km; refined products 320 km (2007)

Railways:
total: 4,071 km
narrow gauge: 4,071 km 1.000-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Prachuap Port, Si Racha

Heliports:
3 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 398
by type: bulk carrier 53, cargo 135, chemical tanker 15, container 22, liquefied gas 28, passenger/cargo 10, petroleum tanker 100, refrigerated cargo 32, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 16 (China 1, Japan 4, Malaysia 3, Singapore 2, Taiwan 1, UK 5)
registered in other countries: 40 (Bahamas 5, Mongolia 1, Panama 10, Singapore 23, Tuvalu 1) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 65
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 11
1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 6 (2007)

Roadways:
total: 180,053 km (includes 450 km of expressways) (2006)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 41
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 28 (2007)

Airports:
106 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
21 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; males are registered at 18 years of age; 2-year conscript service obligation (2006)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 17,553,410
females age 16-49: 17,751,268 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 12,968,674
females age 16-49: 14,058,779 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Royal Thai Army (RTA), Royal Thai Navy (RTN, includes Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force (Knogtap Agard Thai, RTAF) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 531,315
female: 511,288 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.8% of GDP (2005 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
separatist violence in Thailand's predominantly Muslim southern provinces prompt border closures and controls with Malaysia to stem terrorist activities; Southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; talks continue on completion of demarcation with Laos but disputes remain over several islands in the Mekong River; despite continuing border committee talks, Thailand must deal with Karen and other ethnic rebels, refugees, and illegal cross-border activities, and as of 2006, over 116,000 Karen, Hmong, and other refugees and asylum seekers from Burma; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of historic boundary with missing boundary markers; Cambodia claims Thai encroachments into Cambodian territory and obstructing access to Preah Vihear temple ruins awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962; Thailand is studying the feasibility of jointly constructing the Hatgyi Dam on the Salween river near the border with Burma; in 2004, international environmentalist pressure prompted China to halt construction of 13 dams on the Salween River that flows through China, Burma, and Thailand

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 132,241 (Burma) (2007)

Illicit drugs:
a minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; transit point for illicit heroin en route to the international drug market from Burma and Laos; eradication efforts have reduced the area of cannabis cultivation and shifted some production to neighboring countries; opium poppy cultivation has been reduced by eradication efforts; also a drug money-laundering center; minor role in methamphetamine production for regional consumption; major consumer of methamphetamine since the 1990s despite a series of government crackdowns

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